A Terre Haute church has begun accepting registrations for a new Christian school that will begin operation for the 2021-22 school year.

The Life Center at 3000 College Ave. plans to operate Eastside Christian Academy, which would serve pre-K through grade 12 at church facilities, said Tim Minks, church pastor.

More than 15 years ago, the church purchased the facility, which once was a VCSC school. “We knew a private Christian school was probably in our future,” he said. “This seems to be the right time.”

The school would use the Abeka curriculum, described on the Abeka website as a “comprehensive, Biblically-based curriculum,” which has been used by many private Christian schools and home schools, Minks said.

“We are not really in competition with public schools,” he said. Eastside Christian Academy would provide faith-based education. “It would be very strong academically, but also strong with our values of faith.”

That’s the motivating factor, he said. “We want to bring God, the Bible and Christ back into the education system. We think there is a great need for multiple Christian schools in our area,” Minks said. With the response it’s received so far to its new school, Minks says there is “definitely a need.”

“We just believe the city is big enough not just for us, but for others” to start similar schools, he said.

Tuition for one child would be $3,100, and the church eventually hopes to qualify for the state’s private school voucher program. It does not qualify at this point, “but it’s a goal of ours,” he said. “We will look at any and every avenue we can” to assist families with tuition costs.

School would be in-person, but Eastside Christian Academy would also offer an online option, which would be important if the pandemic continues to pose health concerns, Minks said.

Enrollment this fall would be capped at 100 students. The first year, “We don’t want to get overwhelmed” and the intent is to keep class sizes low “so we can manage it well,” he said.

The school began accepting registrations last week, and it will begin enrollment next week.

Anyone is welcome to attend, but as of yet, the school doesn’t have scholarships available. The school, a ministry of The Life Center, is seeking accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools International.

The timing is right for the school, he said. “Just looking at the problems our nation is facing … we have a really strong value that if we put God back in the education system, we think we can make a dent in helping turn things around,” Minks said. The goal is to teach kids “good morality, teachings of Scripture” and values including honor and respect.

Public education does teach students values that include honor and respect, but The Life Center wants to involve faith and God in that instruction. “We realize that’s not something they’re going to be getting from public schools,” he said.

The school is currently interviewing for a principal and it plans to have certified teachers, he said.

The school website is goeastside.org and those wanting more information can call the church at 812-234-5233.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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